Mission and History
Talkeetna Community Radio (KTNA) germinated in the 1980’s, when local residents began working to bring radio to the northern Susitna Valley communities, for public safety and community enrichment. Our foundation mission:
To operate a non-profit, educational, community radio station with local access; to provide a broad base of educational, cultural and informational programming to challenge, broaden and enrich the listening audience; to foster a sense of community within the Upper Susitna Valley; and to share programming and services with a larger Alaskan community.
This mission was distilled into a core purpose and long-term strategic direction by the board, staff and involved members during strategic planning in 2006. Our core purpose is: Connecting Community Through Radio. Our strategic direction is: to become the universal medium for the local community to share information and entertainment, and to give voice to the community’s unique identity, culture, and concerns.
KTNA began broadcasting in early 1993, with 1000 watts at the FM frequency 88.5, from a small log cabin on Second Street in Talkeetna. In the intervening sixteen years the station has evolved in many ways, becoming an essential resource for the community. KTNA began with a skeletal, barely paid staff and many local volunteers, and it has evolved into a full-service community station where volunteers continue to be our core.
KTNA’s broadcast signal can be heard from Willow north nearly to Cantwell, with best reception in Talkeetna, Trapper Creek and Susitna. Approximately 4,500 full-time residents live within the broadcast radius, but the population swells substantially in the summer. All of the communities in the KTNA listening area are classified as “distressed” by the Denali Commission, indicating an average annual income level below minimum wage.
During the past several years, KTNA has achieved a technological transformation of the station. The entire transmission stream technology was upgraded, giving KTNA digital broadcast capacity as well as increased power. KTNA also changed its frequency to 88.9 FM to resolve a frequency interference issue with a new station in Anchorage.
Paralleling these changes, KTNA developed a new web site with streaming and other tools that have positioned KTNA to evolve with changing radio delivery strategies. During severe local flooding in August 2006, KTNA demonstrated the power of an integrated website and broadcast system to keep local citizens informed of developing exigencies, while also allowing regional and state authorities to monitor local developments when traditional communication systems collapsed. KTNA is committed to providing services to its expanding listening community via emerging technologies.
KTNA presents a wide variety of programming, twenty-four hours every day, drawing from National Public Radio and several other national and independent program distributors. Beyond national news and cultural programs, KTNA offers extensive local news, current affairs and music programming, and continuous emergency broadcast capacity. Volunteers produce music shows focusing on many genres, while a weekly program called Nuggets enlists volunteers from the community to investigate a wide range of local features and concerns. Part oral history, part local events report, Nuggets programs are available on the KTNA website.
Beyond its normal radio functions, KTNA has become a significant cultural engine for the area communities. KTNA’s annual art auction helps support and promote local artists, in conjunction with the Denali Arts Council, while KTNA’s successful World of Music concert series brings renowned international, national and Alaskan musicians and bands to the northern Susitna Valley.